Emotionalism has always got a bad rap in rock ‘n’ roll, from seventies prog-rock to eighties power-ballads to the emo of today – and some of that is deserved (do you like Phil Collins, Journey, or Fall Out Boy?…). But the English have always done everything better in rock, and emotionalism is no exception – yet even Anglos can fall into the overwrought trap (see: The Fray – QRO album review). At their best, including previously released singles, Scars On 45 completely exceed the limits of today’s emotionalism on their self-titled debut – even if other times they’re sweet & a bit cloying.
Scars On 45 made their name with two killer singles, "Give Me Something" (QRO review) and "Hearts On Fire", and those two excellent pieces are probably the best two on Scars On 45, with pitch-perfect Anglo-tragedy. However, "Change My Needs" does challenge the pair, a more intimate number with primary lead vocals from Aimee Driver. Other times when Scars On 45 go softer and sweeter, it can feel cloying and even overwrought, such as "Breakdown", "Don’t Say", "Beauty’s Running Wild", and "Insecurity" – though even these have their qualities, such as the carrying nature to "Beauty", and are never less than decent. Better done in this vein is "Burn the House Down", which also has the gripping lyrics that are one of Scars’ main strengths.
Scars On 45 just came off of a tour with The Fray, and there are definitely similarities with that headliner – but also with Anglo-tragic acts like White Lies (QRO spotlight on) or The Boxer Rebellion (QRO live review). Hopefully Scars On 45 is the new face of emotionalism in rock.
MP3 Stream: "Change My Needs"